2009 Forward under 40 Award Honoree
UW Major: Women's Studies
Age: 23 | Madison, WI
Research Assistant to Cory Mason (D-Racine)
"I was able to transform a devastating experience in my life into an empowering one."
At age 21, Amanda Harrington found her voice. She went from being a rape victim to becoming a survivor and advocate.
Her story helped pass a bill to provide medical care for rape victims in Wisconsin legislation that had been stalled for five years. "I was able to take the steps necessary to transform a devastating experience in my life into an empowering one," Harrington says.
Harrington was an intern at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin when she first learned about the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims (CCRV) Act. The proposed bill would require hospitals to offer rape victims options about reporting the crime, collecting evidence, and preventing pregnancy. She stepped forward to testify before legislative committees, lobby state lawmakers, speak at community hearings and press conferences, and write op-ed articles to ensure the bill became law in Wisconsin.
Among her proudest UW achievements, Harrington recalls making it through her last semester: she was balancing 19 credits with a position as a writing fellow, in addition to working as a private tutor and illustrating a book while putting in many volunteer hours with the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health and its CCRV Coalition.
Shortly after graduation, Harrington spoke at Gov. Jim Doyle's signing of the CCRV bill into law on March 13, 2008. But her efforts didn't stop there: she volunteered to develop a toolkit for emergency-room doctors to help them comply with the new requirements and she worked with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to empower individuals to manage their sexual health and well-being through education and advocacy. Recently, she returned to work for the state Legislature.
"What many of us refer to as 'Amanda's Bill' would likely have never been signed into law without her deep commitment and courage," say Nicole Safer JD'03, a legal and policy analyst with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.